Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

Kim Jong Il's Death Sends Jitters Across Northeast Asia - TIME

On Monday afternoon, a black-clad newscaster in Pyongyang, sitting in front of a bucolic backdrop of pine trees and snow-capped mountains, was barely able to get out the news. North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, she managed to say between sobs, had died on Dec. 17 of a sudden illness. "We make this announcement with great sorrow," she said, weeping.

The abrupt absence of a leader in one of the world's most unpredictable nations — though it wasn't entirely unexpected, given Kim's visibly declining health in recent years — sent a chill through Northeast Asia's corridors of power. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security meeting and put the nation's military on highest alert.

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